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Published August 11, 2014, 10:18 AM

Ode to farm moms

In Agweek, we talk a lot about farmers, cattle and crops. We talk about families who run their operations as a team, overcome hardships and make their work a success. But only on rare occasions are we able to zero in on the real heart of the operation, the farm mom.

By: Sarah Dykowski, Agweek

In Agweek, we talk a lot about farmers, cattle and crops. We talk about families who run their operations as a team, overcome hardships and make their work a success.

But only on rare occasions are we able to zero in on the real heart of the operation, the farm mom.

I’m reminded of this every time I talk to my mom, who has spent the past 30 years mastering the art of being a farm mom.

A recent conversation about eradicating bovine pink eye was just one example of her adventures.

She’s milked wild cows, cleared and repaired irrigation pipes (this story involves a rat and lots of mud), spread fertilizer, fought against weeds and pests in the scorching Texas heat and killed poisonous snakes in her Sunday best. Those are just a few of her numerous feats of bravery and determination.

One might assume that her parents were farmers or that she is a large, intimidating woman with super-human strength.

Not true — although, she is incredibly strong for her size.

In fact, my mom is quite petite, and she grew up playing street football with her neighbors and roller skating on city sidewalks.

My dad once described her first year on the farm as a “steep learning course.”

Today, at nearly 50 years old, she puts most of dad’s teenaged farm hands to shame, plowing, spraying, building and mending with skill.

When she masters some new skill, she lets me know. “Well, I don’t know if I did it just right,” she always says. “But it’s done anyway.”

To me, her work ethic is unparalleled, but she would never accept that commendation.

She’s just doing what a farm mom does, working hard to feed and clothe her family and the world.

If someone wanted to know what it’s like to be a farm mom, I recommend they start by asking about the laundry.

Work clothes, school clothes, stock-show clothes, church clothes, farming clothes, play clothes and more all have to be maintained. That means lots of washing and lots of ironing.

Stains from tractor grease and pesticide to mud and animal fluids abound.

Then there’s cooking for a hard-working family. That means big meals at odd times, often with little notice.

Somehow, farm moms do all of this and so much more every day. It’s a difficult and sometimes thankless job, but they do it gladly.

I urge everyone to thank the farm moms in their lives. These women work tirelessly at the heart of the operations that feed the world.

Editor’s note: Dykowski works for Agweek.

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